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Pre-Season Predictions - West Conference

I am continuing my pre-season predictions.  I have already written previews for the Northwest Division, Pacific Division and Central Division.  Here I will list the predicted order of finish of the West Conference teams.  There will not be a blurb for each team - that was written in the division previews.

1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Vancouver Canucks
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Nashville Predators
7. St Louis Blues
8. Minnesota Wild

9. Phoenix Coyotes
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. Anaheim Ducks
12. Colorado Avalanche
13. Dallas Stars
14. Calgary Flames
15. Columbus Blue Jackets

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Ian Gooding's avatar

The Oilers seem to be all over the map in the preseason prognostications. SI has them finishing 3rd overall. Seems a little high for a team with scarce defense and an unproven starting goalie?

The Canucks will need a second line if they hope to win the Northwest Division.

I’d say the only sure bet on that list is Columbus at 15th.

Posted by Ian Gooding on 01/17/13 at 02:39 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I worry about Vancouver’s second line but I don’t think it matters to win the Northwest Division.  Who can catch them?  Which non-playoff team has improved enough to catch the Presidents Trophy winner?  It is a lot to ask of any team.

One of these days Edmonton is likely going to take off and be a contender.  That’s what young talented cores do.  I bet against this being the year because the Oilers core couldn’t take a run at first place in the AHL.

As for Columbus i would be willing to bet they don’t finish last in the West.  Sure I pick them as the team most likely to finish in last place, but I think they have a less than 50% chance of finishing there.  A shortened season will add a lot of noise to the standings.  If Columbus has a few hot games and somebody else doesn’t, it wouldn’t surprise me to see to see somebody else below them.  Given the choice of any one team or the field, I think I would take the field.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/17/13 at 02:57 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

You think goalie regression will hit the Blues that hard, or 2nd-year-under-Hitchcock regression?

I don’t think they’ll be as good as they were last season, but they’re probably still better than the Predators by a fair margin.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/17/13 at 09:00 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I agree that the Blues will drop a bit, but that far seems a bit surprising. Then again, in a shortened season any hot streaks or cold streaks and growing pains will be magnified, and the difference between the top and bottom will probably be even more compact.

I am surprised you picked the Wings for the 4th seed. I think they are a playoff team, but I think they will be in a dog fight. Again though, I guess the two are not mutually exclusive, especially in a short season—4th seed could be just a few points from 9th seed this year.

The West and the Central in particular will be a very very nasty battle this year.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/17/13 at 10:01 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Unless Kopi gets back in the line up soon, I don’t really see the Kings getting off to a quick start. Actually kind of like the Wings in the shortened season, assuming the changes on offense go smoothly.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 01/17/13 at 12:10 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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